West Ham United have made the signing of Alphonse Areola from Paris Saint-Germain permanent.
Areola spent the 2021-22 season on loan at West Ham, mainly acting as backup goalkeeper to Lukasz Fabianski in the Premier League. The Frenchman got more opportunities within their run to the Europa League semi-finals.
In total, Areola played 17 times for West Ham last season. From those appearances, he only conceded 15 goals, keeping eight clean sheets in the process.
Now, West Ham have activated their option to buy Areola, who has signed a contract until 2027 with the option for a further year. According to Sky Sports, the fee is lower than previously believed; the Hammers have got their man for around £7.75m.
He told their club website: “I feel good, I feel great. I’m happy to sign and happy to stay here permanently and I can’t wait to start to train and to do the job.
“The main thing is that I felt the love of the supporters last season. Something for me that is really important is to feel that I’m loved.
“I know that I have to do my job and to do everything to make them happy, and obviously also the team, my teammates, the staff and Xavi Valero as well. The vibe of last season was great, so I just wanted to do everything to stay here.
“I feel comfortable. I feel like when I’m signing in a club, I want to feel that it’s like my second family. Obviously, we’re here every day and we are sharing lots of times together, so I have to feel comfortable with everyone and feel them comfortable with me as well, so I just feel comfortable here.”
For manager David Moyes, securing Areola’s services is reason for delight.
Moyes added: “Alphonse made a huge contribution to the club during his loan spell last season. His performances backed up why we see him as a top goalkeeper.
“He brings proven quality and experience at the highest level, both on the domestic and international scene. We’re delighted he’s with us permanently and look forward to welcoming him back for pre-season.”
Areola could usurp Fabianski
It is fair to suspect the 29-year-old may up his workload next season. Fabianski is now 37 years old, so there could be an evolution between the sticks.
Areola got a full season of Premier League action under his belt when on loan with Fulham in 2020-21. Therefore, he has already shown he has what it takes to guard a top-flight goal.
Given he had interest from elsewhere, he likely wouldn’t have signed on permanently without more guarantees of gametime.
And the fact West Ham have handed him a long-term contract further shows their faith.